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Q: I’ve just read your advice about using a teleprompt so its not necessary to learn the script.

Is there teleprompt-mimicking software that can scrolls text at a chosen speed on your laptop so you can practice your speech to your heart’s content before you go live. Bet there is!

Marketing Manager

A: Teleprompts obviously have a big place in corporate video, as every director or chief exec who ever got up on his / her hind legs to make a speech to camera must already know.

But I’m not sure if teleprompt-mimicking software exists or, that if it did, it would be that useful.

Here’s why:

When a VIP makes a speech there’s more to it than simply repeating lines that scroll up the front of the camera.

Having directed many teleprompt sessions what I’m always looking for is an interesting lively subject, as apart from a wooden stilted delivery.

This, as much as anything, has to do with the physical manner in which the subject speaks.

For example:

> Do they angle their heads for emphasis?

> Do they use their hands to make points?

> Do they smile, or have good humour?

> Do they have sneaky eyes that dart away from camera?

These factors are all concerned with the non-verbal side of the CEO delivering a speech. And they matter considerably. Get them wrong and the speech won’t carry as well with the audience.

Here’s more info on CEO shoot packages

Getting back to practicing the script:

A director is welcome to hold up a printout of their speech and practice speaking it in front of a mirror. This will allow them to familiarise themselves with the content, as well as practice gestures.

But there’s also something about a teleprompt session that has a magic all of its own, that is never told in any corporate video.

I know from experience that senior company personnel often conceal camera nervousness with bullish confidence. I also know they almost never rehearse or practice their lines in advance, or at least give it any more than a quick glance (such busy lives!)

What we do to work with this is try at least half a dozen deliveries of the speech, starting with a slow read to practice, while tweaking the script on the way to suit their verbal style, and fine tune content.

Gradually the reads get faster and faster.

I encourage a “loony” read where the subject goes over the top. This, strangely enough, is often the best read of the lot. The loony read!

Corporate video would flounder without the dear old teleprompt.

© Studio Rossiter 2008

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